Kon Tiki Airport Restaurant

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I’ve written a bit before about Thor Heyerdahl’s hyperdiffusionism and the status as a Norwegian national hero he still enjoys despite being completely discounted as a scientist. Last time I passed through Oslo airport I discovered this Kon Tiki-themed restaurant with a faux Ecuadorian Bolivian stele. I think what Heyerdahl interpreted as a full beard is more likely to depict a decorative face plate hanging from the man’s nose. And anyway, a beard is of course not evidence that a man is a civilisation-bearing Übermensch from Europe.

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Comments

  1. #1 Axel Andersson
    November 20, 2011

    Hello Martin! Just a small note: the replica stele is as far as I know not Ecuadorian but from present-day Bolivia. In the early 1930s the archaeologist Wendell Clark Bennett excavated a stele at Tiwanaku that he in a publication from 1934 was to refer to as the ‘Small bearded statue’. Whether he actually believed that the depiction was of a beard or not I am not sure, nor that it matters as you point out. Heyerdahl took the stele to represent his ”Kon-Tiki”, the leader of the mythic white and bearded people that according to Heyerdahl’s theory had once lived in the area. Bennett later wrote a negative review of Heyerdahl’s 1952 book “American Indians in the Pacific; the theory behind the Kon-Tiki” in the New York Times.

  2. #2 tenine
    November 20, 2011

    I remember how much I enjoyed reading about the Kon Tiki expedition as a child. If I remember there was a illustrated children’s book on the project. But it must be admitted that signs of contact between polynesia and south america are better attributed to the blue water ocean-exploring polynesians themselves rather than south americans. I assume Heyerdahl thought south america was more “Civilized” and therefore contact had to flow out from there.

  3. #3 Martin R
    November 20, 2011

    Axel, thanks for the correction!

    Tenine, Heyerdahl thought all civilisation originated in the Near Easdt and had traveled westward with blond bearded supermen. Hence his several boat replica projects.

  4. #4 Birger Johansson
    November 21, 2011

    If the restaurant has an Ecuadorian/Bolivian theme it ought to serve some of the delicious varieties of potato native to the region, instead of the bland varieties cultivated at large-scale farms all over the world.
    — — — — — — — — — —

    Interpretaion 1: The “beard” thing is some kind of oxygen-collecting device connecting to the nasal passage, since the archaeoastronaut cannot breathe our thin atmosphere unaided.

    Interpretation 2: Did you notice that the lower hand has a fin-like structure, rather like the Deep Ones described in the Pnakotic manuscripts.

    But whatever divine entity depicted, it ended up serving Mammon.
    — — — — — —
    The horror! The horror!
    “Bus driver in banana attack nightmare” http://www.thelocal.se/37450/20111119/
    Yes, this is the kind of thing Swedes have to endure, those of us surviving into adulthood!

  5. #5 Kaleberg
    November 23, 2011

    There used to be an awful Chinese restaurant near Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but I think it was replaced by an even worse Chinese restaurant called the Haiku Palace. The Easter Island figures are definitely iconic. I can’t speak to haiku.

    P.S. Right on about the potatoes. When Yukon Golds first appeared, we went crazy for them. Now we’re into Austrian Crescents and Ozettes. The latter were brought directly up the Pacific Coast from South America. We even follow the Peruvian government potato research website. Did you know they can grow potatoes using aeroponics?

  6. #6 Martin R
    November 23, 2011

    I didn’t even know about aeroponic cultivation. Thanks!

  7. #7 bonor
    November 29, 2011

    Ubermensch? Who introduced that phrase as a part of Heyerdahl’s terminology? What’s up, Martin?

    In 1942 Heyerdahl made a thisis of a cicumvent oceanic voyage in the Pacific. Kon-Tiki was aimed to prove that this was NOT “impossible” – as the professors at the time were “sure of”.

    The term “bearded men” were not something Heyerdahl invented or made a “theory”. Theese legends were not part of “Heyerdahls theory” – but a reference he made – as the same story is told by various meso-american tribes. Some legends claim the “ocean voyagers” to be a “historic fact” – and some even adds that these are “white brothers” which did arrive “flying over the ocean” from “the east”.

    Thus Heyerdahl made “RA I/II” in 1972-74, to prove a possible, pre-colmbian crossing the mid-Atlantic – from Marocco to Barbados. Thus far Heyerdahl was proving his points.

    After he died australian archaeologists came around to prove that native Polynesian voyagers indeed have been existing. Vulcanic raw-materieal from Hawaii were dug out as scrapers/knives – from a 4.200 year old site in Tahiti, 4000 km down southwest…

    I do not remember that these ocean voyagers have been termed “supermen” or “übermenschen”. Nor are they suspected to be neither Phonicans nor Space-aliens. Same goes for the native Australians and Maoris, who passed “a vast ocean” to reach their continental islands. Since when did we need Nietsche to explain theese ancient achievments?!

    So what’s wrong with the theory that “somebody” – in accordance with the descriptions, pictures and statues by the Meso-Americans themselves – actually did cross the Atlantic Ocean before Colombus? The proof of voyages along the ocean currences around the Pacific (Tahiti-Polynesia-South-America-Hawahii-Tahiti) was actually the first route Mr. Heyerdahl described. With improved methods and new discoveries Mr. Heyerdahl’s teory seem to grow stronger – or what?

    The “bearded god” of “Kon-Tiki” on the other hand – was described and pictured by the American Indians themselves. Thus it may be seen as funny when somebody start to overrule the native legends as a ‘historic referrence’ to a native statue of the very same “Kon-Tiki”. What I can’t understand is how Kon-Tiki’s well-grown beard should be seen as something else than a well grown beard. Moreover it can be hard to see how a fringe or biased view of the sculpture may be a serious attempt to understand the artist and the culture that produced it…

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